HalalBooking guide to halal-friendly holidays in Marmaris
The name Marmaris is derived from the word for marble - mermer in Turkish - as it was the most popular of the goods to be traded among the earliest residents in this well-known mercantile port.
As time passed, trading merchants gave way to tourists. Nowadays, Marmaris is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Aegean region and its halal-friendly hotels and villas welcome Muslim travellers from all over the world.
Marmaris is the most densely populated town in the region of Muğla, after Bodrum. It has a convenient location as it is only one hour’s drive from Dalaman Airport, two hours from Bodrum and around 1 hour by catamaran from the Greek island of Rhodes. For this reason it is an ideal destination for beach holidays and is surrounded by nature. It provides a great base for an Aegean tour.
Halal food and restaurants in Marmaris
Marmaris is one of the most popular tourist destinations and a great number of travellers choose it for their summer holiday due to its clear blue bays and historic heritage. However, Marmaris is not only renowned for its tourist attractions, it is also popular for its restaurants located on the seafront and marina offering splendid views as well as a great variety of alcohol-free tasty meals.
In Marmaris, there is a wide choice of cuisine: taste various dishes in barbecue restaurants serving delicious kebabs, eat fresh fish and salad in fish restaurants or visit authentic local restaurants to try traditional dishes, such as vegetables in olive oil. You can choose to eat in fast food restaurants or try the local specialities of mantı (Turkish ravioli), pide (Turkish pitta bread pizza) or döner kebab.
In Marmaris, it’s not only restaurants which offer traditional food. You can find Turkish specialties sold on stalls along the seashore, or buy sandwiches and gözleme (similar to filled pancakes) from snack bars. There are also places selling ice cream with different flavours.
Make sure you find time to enjoy a traditional Turkish breakfast with fresh fruit and vegetables. And don’t forget to taste the pine honey - a world-renowned local product of Marmaris.
Things to see in Marmaris
Marmaris offers its visitors a variety of activities both in the resort centre and the surrounding countryside.
The internationally known traveller, Evliya Çelebi, visited this region in the 17th century and wrote in his travelogue, called Seyahatname, that Marmaris castle had been built by the Ottoman Emperor Suleiman the Magnificent. Suleiman is reported to have ordered that the construction of the castle should be done before his military expedition to Rhodes. According to some historical sources, the castle was constructed before the Christian era but Alexander the Great demolished it and afterwards Sultan Suleiman ordered that it should be rebuilt. Although the background of the castle is not exactly known, it is one of the leading tourist attractions in town and is popular among both domestic and foreign tourists.
Located within Marmaris Castle, the museum is composed of two halls - Archeology and Ethnography - and an art gallery. In the archeology hall artefacts dating from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras as well as pots and other objects are exhibited. The Ethnography hall, where the pieces dating back to Ottoman times are shown, is home to kitchen utensils, jewellery, guns and many other artefacts as well as carpets and rugs.
Historical Covered Bazaar (Bedesten)
Covered bazaars are always one of the most appealing parts of the city no matter which Turkish city you visit. You can find different shops selling local souvenirs, clothes, spices and hand-made products in the bazaar area of Marmaris. You can enjoy a traditional shopping experience here, which will be an enjoyable part of your holiday. You can also visit local shops, where you can buy honey and jam produced locally, to give to your friends.
Hafsa Sultan Caravanserai
Hafsa Sultan Caravanserai was constructed for Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, who was the mother of Suleiman the Magnificent and the wife of Sultan Selim, in 1545. During the military campaign to Rhodes, this caravanserai was used for accommodation and trade. Situated very close to Marmaris Castle, the caravanserai is set amidst historic castle houses, so it is both authentic and attractive. There are also shops selling souvenirs.
Sarıana is known to be a female saint who lived in Marmaris in the Ottoman era. Rumour has it that Sultan Suleiman visited Sarıana before his military campaign to Rhodes. When Sarıana milked only one cow and obtained enough milk for the whole army, Suleiman realised that she was not an ordinary person but she had something spiritual so he asked her opinion. Sarıana told Suleiman: “If none of your soldiers has anything ill-gotten, then the victory is yours.”
Consequently, Sarıana Tomb became a very important spot for the local residents and today it attracts tourists from all over the world.
Historical and cultural heritage of Marmaris
Ancient City of Physkos
The ancient City of Physkos is thought to be the oldest settlement on the nearby Reşadiye Peninsula. Physkos, meaning “city of nature” in the Carian language, was an important port city in the ancient Caria region. The importance of the city can also be recognised from the fact that the city had its own coinage. The fortifications of this ancient harbour, mentioned in many historical records, have survived until now. Dating back to 3500 BC, the ancient city is definitely one of the historic attractions that should not be missed.
Ancient City and port of Knidos
The Aegean region is a great destination for those interested in ancient history and the Marmaris region, with its numerous ancient cities, is one of the most precious sites of that region. Located on Cape Tekir, at the point where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterrenean Sea, Knidos was the most important city in the Carian region in terms of science, art and culture. Much work was done in the fields of mathematics, physics and astronomy in Knidos. Even one of the oldest observatories was here. Also, Sostratus of Cnidus, who was the architect of the famous Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria, and Praxiteles of Athens, who was the sculptor of the famous Aphrodite statue lived here. The two ancient theaters of the ancient city, surrounded by four kilometers long walls, have a wonderful sea view.
Taşhan and Kemerli Bridge
Other masterpieces which were constructed in Marmaris in the era of Sultan Suleiman were Taşhan (literally ‘stone inn’) and Kemerli Bridge, located in İskelebaşı. Built in 1552, the inn and the bridge bear the characteristics of the era. They are both great spots for tourists to have their pictures taken.
Ancient City of Amos
The Ancient City of Amos, set around the Bay of Amos, is one of the most significant cities of Rhodes and means ‘the temple of the Goddess’. The most solid structure that has been preserved is its ancient theatre. However, it is not possible to reach it by car. So, you will need to hike to reach the hill on which the city is located. Then you can see the historic remains and enjoy the romantic scenery at sunset.
Ancient City of Loryma and other ancient cities
The city of Loryma, which is also known as Bozukkale, dates back to the 7th century BC and most of its remains were uncovered during excavations which took place in 1995. Its most important structure is its castle, which is 120 m long and 10 m wide. The city hosted many sailors in ancient times and today it is popular with boats and yachts.
The number of ancient cities in Marmaris is rather high and each of them has valuable artefacts and remains. You can see the remains of a castle dating from the middle ages in the ancient city of Gallipolis; the Temple of Apollo and the theatre in the ancient city of Kedrai; memorial tombs in Hyde; and the city walls and castle in Idyma. The common feature of these cities, that were once very important ports, is that they all have excellent sea views.
Natural beauties of Marmaris
Saklı Göl (literally ‘hidden lake’) is a calm lake, set in the midst of lush greenery, in a great location, making it easily accessible. You can start a new day with a perfect breakfast in this peaceful atmosphere and choose from different activities such as canoe, pedalo, horse safari, buggy safari, archery, golf and many others.
The aptly named Paradise Island is actually a peninsula offering stunning views. A common stop for tour boats, blue cruise tours and private yachts, this island is also ideal for diving. You can go hiking around the island and enjoy a swim in the turquoise waters leaving all the fatigue, stress and problems of the year behind with birdsong, the sounds of waves and charming nature. There are numerous restaurants and cafes around the island where you can have something to eat or enjoy your tea and coffee. You should definitely bring your camera to capture the amazing views, which Paradise Island offers.
Furthermore, the 12000-year-old Nimara Cave, which is situated at the peak point of the island, has great archeological importance with its history dating back to paleolithic times. It is believed that the cave was used as a workshop to make beads until the bronze age, and that it was used as a temple and place for sacrificial offerings in Roman times. The remains which were found here confirm that people once lived in this cave.
Chimney Cave (Baca Mağarası)
One of the best-known caves in Marmaris is Chimney Cave. However, it is slightly different from the ordinary caves because it is an underwater cave. The name chimney refers to the fireplace-like shape which one can enter at a depth of 14 metres and leave at a depth of 4 metres. This cave absolutely offers a unique experience that divers should not miss.
With its peaceful atmosphere, blue flag beaches and views of pine-clad mountains, Turunç Bay provides you with a wonderful holiday experience. You can get there easily by water taxi from Marmaris harbour or by road. Surrounded by pine forests, with an attractive sand and shingle beach, Turunç is also home to halal-friendly hotels and villas and is perfect for those who are seeking a calm, family atmosphere.
80 kms away from Marmaris, Dalyan is in a perfect setting. If you go on a boat tour through the reed beds, you will absolutely be fascinated by its natural beauties and will have the chance to see the Kaunian rock tombs as well as the ancient city of Kaunos. Also, visitors to Dalyan can take part in a variety of activities in the renowned mud baths and thermal springs. Dalyan is the breeding site of the sea turtles called Caretta Caretta, which are in danger of extinction. If you go to İztuzu Beach in July, you can watch the Caretta Carettas hatch.
One of the best examples of traditional Aegean villages, Bayır village is a nice seaside village located on the southwestern coast of Marmaris. There is a plane tree in the centre of the village, which is hundreds of years old. Impressed by the longevity of the tree, the local community started to believe that those who walked around the tree would lead a healthy and long life. Afterwards, this belief became a ritual in the village. Even visiting tourists follow this ritual. It is also said that the mosque of the village, which is located within the borders of the ancient city of Syrna, was once a temple dedicated to Asclepius. Also, the Acropolis of the ancient city is only a short walk away - around 2 kms. You can also see the city walls, ancient remains and tombstones here.
Activities in Marmaris
Daily Boat Tour
There are a great number of tour boats, which depart from the marina of Marmaris every day. You can find boats which organise family tours, moonlight tours, sunrise/sunset tours as well as tours for special occasions like birthdays or wedding anniversaries. It is also possible to find halal-friendly boat tours with a female captain. Although the schedules differ depending on the organisation, the most frequently visited stops are Fosforlu Cave, Aquarium Bay, Kadırga Bay, Green Sea Bay, Kumlubük beach and Turunç.
Aqua Parks for Families with Children
Summer means more and more activities for families with children. One of the most entertaining activities for children is giant water slides, where they can make the most of an adventure. There are a huge number of aqua parks as well as 5 star resorts in Marmaris. Some facilities have a capacity of up to 1000 guests, which offer numerous water activities, slides, wave pools and restaurants.
Exploring Bays in Marmaris and Islands Nearby
There are innumerable natural beauties close to Marmaris. Don’t miss the chance to visit the many bays and islands which offer excellent natural and historic treasures and inspiring views. You can explore Amok Bay which will fascinate you with different shades of blue; Kumlubük Bay with its calm atmosphere; Lacivert (Navy Blue) Bay known as the home of Poseidon; Selimiye Bay which is an old fishing village; Orhaniye Bay with its historic setting; Kamelya Island with olive trees and an old monastery; Dişlice Island also known as Love Island and many other islands and bays.
Whilst you are in Marmaris, you should take the opportunity to take a ferry to Rhodes Island. If you give your documents to the tour company 3 days beforehand, they will carry out the visa-related procedures for you.
You can drive your own car or rent one to travel to specific areas. While there are plenty of daily boat tours, you can also hire an entire boat for a private tour, so you can visit the beautiful bays and islands in the region.
What you can do in Marmaris is not limited to enjoying the sea, the natural surroundings and wealth of history. You can also take part in many different types of sport. You can go on family safari tours in a 4x4 off-road jeep or an ATV, quad or buggy safari tours and experience a day full of adrenaline and adventure. Other options include water sports such as jet ski, parasailing, pedalo, canoe, banana, windsurf and water-ski. Also, if you like diving, Marmaris offers a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered under the brilliant turquoise waters.
One of the best activities in Marmaris is going on a bicycle tour. There are at least 20 cycling routes in the region. You can visit various villages, historical sites and bays by following different routes or tracks through the Marmaris National Park, stopping off to take a break wherever you wish and enjoy the tranquility. There are websites where you can find detailed information about cycling routes as well as maps and recommendations. You can check them and plan your day accordingly.
Halal-friendly hotels and villas in Marmaris
Marmaris offers a great variety of halal-friendly hotels and villas. Halal-friendly hotels offer women-only beaches and sunbathing areas, spas and private swimming pools. They are also alcohol-free providing the best environment for a summer holiday. You can enjoy swimming in the clear turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea and enjoy the sun on the golden sand, without worrying about privacy and without feeling as if you have to compromise your faith and abandon your Islamic duties.
There is also a good choice of villas in Marmaris, which offer complete privacy and some luxury options at the same time. These villas are ideal for honeymoon couples who want privacy on their holiday as well as for families who would like to enjoy the sun and pool together.
If you enter your travel dates, the number of guests and the ages of any children, you can see the prices of Muslim-friendly hotels and villas in Marmaris and book immediately, if you choose. You can also get special additional discounts by becoming a HalalBooking Loyalty Club member for free. All you need to do is just register on the website.